Who were the “seventy” whom Christ sent out?


by Shawn Brasseaux

We read about these 70 special Messianic Jews only in chapter 10 of Luke. The Lord Jesus Christ commissioned them during the last six months of earthly ministry.

Read the Bible for yourself: “[1] After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. [2] Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. [3] Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. [4] Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. [5] And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. [6] And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. [7] And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. [8] And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: [9] And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

“[10] But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, [11] Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. [12] But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. [13] Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. [14] But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. [15] And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. [16] He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

“[17] And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. [18] And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. [19] Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. [20] Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”

While similar to the 12 Apostles, these 70 men are not to be confused with them. For example, carefully compare Matthew 10:1-42, Mark 3:14-19, Mark 6:7-13, Luke 9:1-6, and Luke 10:1-20. Both the 12 Apostles and the 70 were commissioned to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom in Israel’s cities, confirming that message with the two Kingdom miracles—that is, healing the sick and casting out devils. What makes the 70 unique, however, is Jesus sent them in pairs to cities and towns before He visited those areas. They were to prepare the people for His arrival. After their first and only appearance (Luke chapter 10), these 70 preachers drop off from the pages of Scripture. Consequently, we do not know what ultimately happened to them.

Also see:
» Who were “the sons of the prophets?”
» Was an apostle merely one who had seen Christ’s resurrection?
» Who were the people who followed Jesus before Paul?